On a Monday in the beginning of March I had the intention to fly to a client and hold a one-day course in personal efficiency.
And oh, did I try!
But, as the breaking-conditions on the run-way were too poor, there was a snow-storm, the pilot had to be replaced last minute and finally there was a technical malfunction, what was initially a two-hour flight turned into eight hours of traveling and I only made it half-way before I had to turn around and go back home with my mission unaccomplished.
When things like these happen, it is easy to regard it as a lost day (which one of my fellow passengers did and got the mood corresponding to this attitude), but there are several things you can do to still make it into a productive day.
Think before you go
Create the right conditions for getting things done, no matter what happens, for instance by bringing more workmaterial than what you think you will need for your trip, incase something unpredicted should occur.
Think about what you could bring which does not require power, silence, privacy or an internet connection, so that you are not at a loss if your flight should be delayed.
There are many things you can do to relieve yourself of possible stress, frustration and anger. Here are some suggestions.
- Write – When your computer has been unplugged from an outlet for long enough and your battery has died, you can still formulate the e‑mails you know you have to write soon anyways. When I write e‑mails, the actual phrasing and choice of words takes just as long as the typing and sending. So if you can spend your time in “traveling-limbo” by outlining important e‑mails by hand, half the work is done once your computer is up and running again and you can send them.
- Draw – Grab a pen and a pad, and draw a “storyboard” depicting the presentation you are giving at the next department-meeting. Think through and choose which images you want to show and make sketches of them, almost like a comic-strip. Doing this will significantly speed up the process of making and assembling the images on the computer later when you are preparing the actual presentation.
- Call – Make sure to synchronize your contacts from your computer onto your phone before leaving the office, so that you will not have to look for a phone-number when you have time to make some phone-calls. Or a name for that matter, perhaps that of the person who is the new purchase manager of the company you have tried to get as a client for a long time.
- Work on your computer – If you keep digital documents in more places than on your portable computer, make sure to synchronize your laptop before you go so that you have all the files you need (and more, including those you did not think you would need). Make sure you have the option to access the file server for your network when you are working remotely. Speak to your IT-department. Another option is to store your documents in the renowned “cloud”, using services such as Google Documents, Dropbox, Box.com, ZoHo et c (Cloudwards.net has an informative overview here), so that you can reach them when you are on the road.
- Read — In case something would change in your itinerary, bring articles, contracts, things you need to proof-read, or other documents which you never seem to get to when at work. When all the batteries in your technical gadgets have discharged and an internet connection is far from available, you will thank yourself for bringing something to read.
Lower levels of adrenaline
If you prepare for possibly being delayed, slowed down, rerouted, cancelled, redirected or put on hold while traveling, and by creating the preconditions for being able to work with something productive no matter the circumstances, you will find it easier to accept any unexpected events with a greater peace of mind.
As your fellow passengers get increasingly loud, annoyed and the adrenaline starts to flow, you will be able to calmly immense yourself in the material you brought to work on and relax since you know this is the right thing to do right now.
What is your way of handling unexpected delays?
How do you vaccinate yourself against hassle-frustration? Leave a comment to let us know.